FICA-DC Cabaça Workshop Fun

In early June, T Fabio led a cabaça workshop at FICA-DC. He procured the gourds used in the workshop from a farm in Maryland. It was a lot of fun, and everyone went home with their very own cabaça, ready to be "married" to a verga to create a berimbau and make beautiful music together for a long time.

1. Choose your gourd. Size matters. Keep in mind whether you want to make a gunga, medio, or viola.

2. Dampen the gourd and clean off the slime and dirt, using a sharp edge. If your slime and dirt make an interesting design, you may want to leave it on.

3. Figure out how best the gourd will fit on a verga. From there, draw a hole-- not too big!

4. Use a sharp edge to cut the hole. It doesn't have to be perfect-- you can clean it up with the sandpaper.

5. Once the hole is cut, scoop out the insides and then smooth the walls of the gourd with sandpaper.

6. Once the gourd is ready inside and out, measure it against the verga to figure out where to cut the holes for the cord. Use the point of a knife or box cutter to poke the holes.

7. Slip the cord through the holes, and tie it. You may have to adjust the cord width to get the sound just right.

Thanks to Lars & Isa for the pictures!

Isa created a step-by-step guide on her website that includes a video (yeah, I nabbed some of the pictures).

Check out the FICA-DC archives for more information on gourd instruments, including a book that shows you how to make a variety of lutes, flutes, drums, and more.

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